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Grants e-newsletter

No. 2, December 2005


1. Open access: an update

2. Guidelines on Good Research Practice

3. eGrants application system

4. Public engagement

5. Policy update

6. Open access papers: recent highlights.

1. Open access: an update

As discussed in the previous issue of the Grantholders newsletter, it is now a condition of our funding that research papers supported in whole or in part by the Wellcome Trust must be deposited into PubMed Central (PMC). This requirement applies to all grants awarded after 1 October 2005, and from 1 October 2006 to all grants regardless of award date. Papers deposited in PMC should be made freely accessible as soon as possible, and no later than six months after publication.

Since taking this policy live on the 1 October, around 90 manuscripts have been deposited via the National Institutes of Health Manuscript Submission (NIHMS) system, many of which have now been tagged, cross-linked with other datasets such as GenBank and PubChem, and made freely available via PMC (see section 6 below for highlights).

Though the deposition system has proved easy to use, a number of grantholders have expressed concern over the time it takes to determine whether a specific journal has a Wellcome Trust-compliant policy with regard to depositing a manuscript in PMC. In response to this the Trust is currently exploring the possibility of working with SHERPA to create a database of publisher copyright agreements, searchable at the journal level. A researcher could simply access this web-based resource to determine whether a journal was compliant with the Trust's policy. Further information about this initiative will be provided in the next issue of this newsletter and on the Trust website in our authors' guide and FAQ document, which is regularly updated.

2. Guidelines on Good Research Practice

The updated Guidelines PDF is now available from the Wellcome Trust website. This is an updated version that was first published in January 2002 and has been updated to take account of the Trust policy statement made jointly with MRC and BBSRC on managing risks of misuse associated with grant funding activities.

3. eGrants application system

The Wellcome Trust introduced an eGrants application system earlier this year, and a number of our most commonly used forms are available through this mechanism. Other forms can be accessed either from the Wellcome Trust website or directly from Wellcome Trust staff.

Grantholders should note:

• forms that are now available as eGrant forms

• forms that can be used now, but which will not be accepted after 1 April 2006.

Applicants are encouraged to use eGrant forms where possible. In the New Year we will be seeking the views of university administrators and applicants about the eGrants process and any improvements that might be made to it, prior to making a decision on whether the mechanism should become mandatory in Autumn 2006.

4. Public engagement

As a researcher, you can help the Wellcome Trust to ensure that consideration is given to the impact on society of the research you carry out and help create an informed public climate in which biomedical science can flourish. The Trust has a substantial commitment to public engagement, aiming to raise awareness and understanding of biomedical science and place it within a societal, historical and cultural context. We provide support for researchers to engage with young people and adults. Visit the Trust website to find out more about Trust funding and opportunities in public engagement.

5. Full economic costs in UK universities

This autumn has seen considerable changes to the way UK universities calculate the cost of research, which are intended to bring increased sustainability to the sector. From September 2005, researchers have begun to estimate the full economic costs (fEC) of individual projects, and to identify costs as directly incurred, directly allocated or indirect.

In recognition of these developments, the Wellcome Trust has refined its position on allowable costs for all grantholders in the UK and elsewhere. Researchers can now apply for the full directly incurred costs of a research project and other costs where it helps us further our charitable mission. The Trust will not fund directly allocated or indirect costs unless specifically agreed. (For further details see our policy position on full economic costs in UK universities.)

The Wellcome Trust is a significant funder of research in UK universities. In recognition of the important role played by charities, the Government has provided increased funding, through the Charity Support Fund, to contribute to the fEC of charity-funded research in universities in England. The Scottish Funding Council has also allocated a charity stream of funding to support charity-funded research in Scottish universities.

The Trust will monitor closely the impact of fEC on the research sector. Grant applicants from the UK are now required to include details of the fEC of their research project when applying for funding.

6. Open access papers: recent highlights

Recognising the benefits of open access, a number of Trust-funded researchers are already publishing their research in journals that support this model. Below, we provide a summary of some recent highlights.

Sound perception and specific language impairment
Problems with hearing quiet sounds are thought to contribute to some children's slow mastery of language. Research by Dorothy Bishop and Genevieve McArthur suggests that, for a subset of children with specific language impairment, the auditory processing systems may be maturing more slowly than normal, but there is not a permanent deficit.
Bishop DVM and McArthur GM. Cortex. 2005 June; 41(3): 327–341. Full text

Genes, anti-manic drugs and slime moulds
Robin Williams reviews how studies of the slime mould Dictyostelium discoideum are helping to identify mammalian genes that control the effect of drugs used to treat bipolar disorder
Williams RSB. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2005 July; 29(6): 1029–1037. Full text

Changing malaria drug treatment in Zambia
In 2003, Zambia became the first African country to change its antimalarial treatment policy from chloroquine to artemisinin based combination therapy. Dejan Zurovac and colleagues examined the impact of this policy on clinical practice, and found that although chloroquine had been almost completely discontinued, most clinicians still opted for the more familiar sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine rather than the recently introduced artemether-lumefantrine.
Zurovac D, et al. BMJ. 2005 October 1; 331(7519): 734. Full text

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